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New Dungeons & Dragons rules embrace sexuality and gender identity

  • Alexandra Burnell

    Our gaming group already do this with our characters and I suspect others do too. However it is a welcome attitude to see so people can move on from the young lads who just like to make their characters big breasted, promiscuous lesbians that are so often portrayed.

    • Achilles Says

      but… it won’t change what characters people make, so it won’t stop “young lads who just like to make their characters big breasted, promiscuous lesbians”.

      • Jorge

        No, it won’t stop it and it shouldn’t. Roleplaying is about making your own story. But at least new players will know they have many options about it.

        • Achilles Says

          i guess i just think people who didn’t already know they had all the options ever to decide the psychology of their character are… stupid.

          • There was a time in your life when you didn’t know things which you take for granted now. You weren’t stupid then. You were just young.

            Don’t be so judgmental.

  • Sam

    Thanks, Wizards, for offering gamers more gender and orientation options in which to be virgins.

    • He said, unaware of the couples who met through gaming and continue to play.

  • NASCARDaddy

    This has never been a problem for any gaming group I have ever been in.

  • Baron von Sockenstopfenhohen.

    Pander pander pander.

  • kok

    very important, y finilly can say all the elves are gay.

    • Adios

      It’s not gay if it’s fey.

    • Rebzie

      LGBT or Elf

      • ffured


  • Bradley Jacobs

    I hate to be an ass about this, but this is a symbolic gesture as best. Groups that are already in favor of this already do it, and those that are against it will ignore it as the ‘rules’ are always suggestions anyway.

    • The world rarely changes overnight. It changes in little steps. Many ‘symbolic gestures’ were vital steps in the 50’s-60’s civil rights process. Not every gesture ends up being a Rosa Parks situation but they are important contributions anyway.

      • Shaun Salisbury

        Did you even read what he said players have been doing this for a long time now no one needed to add rules for a already open game that allows you to build a world as you desire it just pure pandering and that’s why it is sad.

        • VP

          No. It’s not about rules – there aren’t actually any new rules for gender presentation and sexuality – it’s about the official game materials explicitly encouraging players to think about these things when creating characters. Presenting them as normal and acknowledged and worthy of overt consideration, rather than remaining silent on them. There is huge, huge value in choosing what normative statements to make, in saying explicitly that something is a part of your ambit rather than just letting it go on without so much as a nod. Whether individual players choose to explore these issues is not the point – the fact is the game’s creators have chosen to recognise them as being germane to fantasy storytelling, and that’s significant.

          • Shaun Salisbury

            Not really obviously you don’t not understand the meaning of normal because when something is normal it’s when you don’t have to tell someone to do something they do it of there own free will like they do already so in the end all this amounts to is pandering.

          • VP

            I said “normative” – as in establishing norms. Please pay attention. A normative statement shapes and creates the norms people work by. It is a higher-level thing, above the norms themselves.

            But I am confused. If people already work to these norms then what is wrong with including a few sentences to recognise that fact and establish them all the more firmly? What is wrong with making these norms explicit with an explicit normative statement?

            What great benefit is had by leaving this unspoken and unacknowledged? Why are you so keen that all talk of considering your character’s sexuality be hushed up? If it’s a part of the game then why should it NOT be discussed in the rulebook?

          • Shaun Salisbury

            Actually you did say normal reread everything you wrote and you will find the word normal. The reason is simple it’s annoying and redundant it’s like having someone watch you playing your favorite video game and having them constantly bring up stuff you already know the same goes for this everyone knows they are free to explore all these things you don’t need to tell them something they already know.

          • Starr

            there are really annoying NPCs in games that are redundant, as well as the crowd of mind boggling Legolas clones in MERP games. It’s not like we don’t know that this stuff happens. It does. But the companies being open about it is a nice gesture, if you don’t like it… ignore it. That’s what most do when it comes to the guide books or rule books. If they don’t like something they ignore it. Really, it’s however your group plays, just don’t give flack to someone or some other group that doesn’t ignore the stuff you do. Free choice… birthright. Don’t mess with others rights.

          • Shaun Salisbury

            You can avoid and skip annoying NPC in a game and you won’t see news reports about it but like I said this is only pandering because it’s like they add this and saying “Hey look at me I am adding stuff about homosexual stuff it’s the in thing isn’t I am hip aren’t I?” that’s all this is nothing more and the sooner people realize this the better.

          • Dolly Digest

            Well, more educated and reasoned people simply accept this as a gesture of recognition by the makers of the game. Maybe you should work on being less anti-gay and work harder to become a decent civilised member of society.

          • Shaun Salisbury

            Lol the fact that you think I am Anti Gay is very amusing when I follow George Takei see unlike you I don’t need to separate people by color of skin or gender or sexual preferences because we are all humans and as soon as you realize that and treat people like that then you will realize why you are foolish.

          • VP

            Why does it annoy you that an RPG rulebook makes mention of sexuality and gender presentation then? It doesn’t seem to annoy you that they make mention of thinking about your character’s age or appearance or birthplace or height or secret innermost goals, yet surely those too are things that any experienced roleplayer will think about anyway? Do you want the entire non-mechanics-based section of the character creation chapter expunged then, because it’s something that people somehow already know anyway?

            I mean, that’s a facile position to take, because not everybody does automatically think that way. New players undoubtedly benefit from being talked through the mindset, which is why they have these sections at all. You yourself were once new to role-playing games, and I suspect you
            acquired the knowledge you have now of how to do them in large part by
            reading passages such as these in your rulebooks. But it is at least a consistent and non-bigoted position – cut out anything that seasoned old hands can realistically be presumed to know from past experience and sod the new players who might like an explanation of how the role-playing experience works and tips on how to get the most out of it.

            You haven’t said that though. You’ve just objected to the mentions of sexuality and gender presentation in these sections, not the sections themselves. I ask again, why are those things specifically not to be mentioned? Why must they be kept in silence and just assumed, while all those other characteristics mentioned above can get a sentence or two in the rules and you won’t complain?

          • Shaun Salisbury

            I hope you do realize that character’s age or appearance or birthplace or height or secret innermost goals actually effect the game where as sexuality and other things are just aspects of role playing which is why they do not need to be mentioned.

          • ffured

            i personaly had a character where the sexuality was very important for my partymembers to reconise what’s going on at the time… though the heigth of my characters was just used once in almost 3/4 of a year playing

          • Shaun Salisbury

            Then you just had a abnormal DM a majority of DMs leave that to the role playing nothing to effect game play like those other things.

          • ffured

            no, i do have to admit it was a exceptional character but my point is that it can be just as relavant as age, height, weight or birthplace can be. sexuality of a character can be an important feat in game. so just as the rest it should be mentioned in the rulebook.

          • Shaun Salisbury

            No not really age has factors on actual game play and combat same with height which can effect where you can go like being too tall to fit into a small passage or too small to reach a certain area where as sexual preferences play no part in game mechanics.

          • Dolly Digest

            Again – not really sure of your point Shaun. You just appear to be angry that an important and valued segment of the D&G community have been officially recognised and catered for.

          • Shaun Salisbury

            Wow you just keep burying yourself deeper and deeper they have been recognized and have always been recognized by the D&D community that is what you are failing to understand we do not need a book to tell us something we already know.

          • Dolly Digest

            Actually a characters age and/or appearance have no impact upon the game – I am really not sure of your point. You just seem really angry that sexual orientation has been officially recognised by way of the D&G rule book.

          • Shaun Salisbury

            No not really age has factors on actual game play and combat same with height which can effect where you can go like being too tall to fit into a small passage or too small to reach a certain area where as sexual preferences play no part in game mechanics.

          • Dolly Digest

            Normalcy is subjective. One person’s normality may not be be the same for another person. This can depend upon many factors including education and sociological impacts. Shaun your definition of ‘normalcy’ is inaccurate, because you have described inflicting your normative values upon someone who may not share them.

          • Shaun Salisbury

            Wow this tells me how little you understand the people who play D&D I mean you think you would bother to read the mountain of responses from players on here but it looks like you are too lazy to do so.

        • “Did you even read what he said”?

          Yes, Captain Incredulous, and I stand by my statement.

          • Shaun Salisbury

            Well given your response it contradicts your statement.

          • You’re welcome to believe whatever you like.

        • Jacob TwistedFate Dowdy

          Here’s a thought, maybe WOTC is doing this to officially show they support LGBT and gay marriage.

          Arguing back and forth about whether or not this was necessary is pointless. All this is supposed to be is suggestions for things to think about when making a character, and this could make it easier for a LGBT individual who is trying the game out for the first time but is worried it might be awkward for them if they choose to make their character have a sexuality that is similar to theirs.

          I’ve played both male and female characters, not because I’m a stereotypical virgin gamer (I’ve had sex and am engaged to the woman that I will grow old with) but because a long ass time ago the only people who could be actors in plays were men. I’ll admit I’ve played a lesbian character before, and the only thing stopping me from playing a gay male character is I’ve never tried to imagine how a gay elf would think or act. I plan on trying to make a gay character the next time I roll up a character.

          I applaud Wizards of the Coast for this step forward in the fight for equal rights.

          • Shaun Salisbury

            Have you even bothered to read a lot of the responses from people who play D&D if you did you would know why what you are saying is pointless because we already know we can do these things some of us have been doing them for 25+ years and not been fearful of anything because the people that play D&D know how it feels to be persecuted we have been for most of D&D life matter our sexual orientation.

          • Alexandra Burnell

            So new players be damned then, is that what you’re saying?
            Let’s face it, D&D gamers who have been playing for 25+ years are more likely to stick with the old versions, 3.5 for example and therefore will Not be buying the Rulebook for v.5. Having beta tested v.5 I know I’ll be sticking to the v.3/v.3.5 because I like it but new players won’t have that availability, unless they are introduced to the game by an old timer.
            Apologize for my rambling, I’m sick and can’t concentrate.

          • Shaun Salisbury

            New players have been damned since 4th edition so really they should just go back to 3.5 where the game had it’s best balance.

          • Dolly Digest

            So why so angry Shaun that something that you have been doing for years has been given official recognition and incorporated into the rule book?

          • Shaun Salisbury

            Because it doesn’t need to be it’s like reminding someone the sky is blue or that you need air to survive we already know that you don’t need to tell us.

          • Dolly Digest

            Interesting! What about the new players? What about the fact that this addition to the rule book gives official recognition and support to a still marginalised segment of society? Surely those points alone supercede your illogical anger over the fact that this group has been catered to. Your disagreement with same sex couples being given official recognition via the rule book is completely unreasoned.

          • Shaun Salisbury

            The anger from me is only being perceived by you so in the end it isn’t real and the point is ever since 4th edition they have been screwing new players because the game has been a shadow of itself since then it’s the reason why most people still use 3.5 and on a 2nd note being a accepted thing in society is it to not need to be brought up because people already know it exists and accept it.

          • Marstupial

            So- you’re basically just trying to be a hipster doofus and say that in your D&D endeavors, you and your buddies have been LGBT supporters way before the powers that be decided to put anything specific in the rulebook to encourage others to (or just let them know they CAN) also play this way? We’re all SO impressed by your open-mindedness and acceptance.

            Also, you are now equating LGBT discrimination and persecution within society to the “persecution” of nerds who like role-playing games. LOL- wow.

            Dude, I have a hunch that the only reason most of your comments here don’t have any down-votes (or maybe I just can’t see them yet) is because you’re not allowed to do that as a guest. I’m specifically signing on here to be able to comment- that’s how much your attitude has irritated me. If I cared more, I’d go back and down-vote pretty much everything that you’ve said; as none of it has had any real substance.

            Instead, I’ll just say good luck to you sir, in adapting to changes in your life and society; as well as finding your princess who is in another castle:

          • Shaun Salisbury

            You might want to read up on the subject of how religious group went after D&D back in the 80s they even made a movie with Tom Hanks about the evils of D&D.

          • Marstupial

            This comment/reference is nearly as irrelevant as me saying that you might want to think about learning how to write. You also might want to read up on how to compose an effective persuasive argument.

          • Shaun Salisbury

            Given how you just responded pretty much tells everyone your only purpose in life is to be a ass to people online which takes away any power from your word’s.

        • Dolly Digest

          It is not pandering. It is catering to a segment of the RPG community by recognising their orientation within the official rules in the same way that heterosexual relationships are recognised – it most definitely is not sad, it is recognition by the company of their stance on equality and the validity of same sex relationships.

          • Shaun Salisbury

            You should really stay away from subjects till you actually have a better understanding of them people have been playing D&D with all genders and sexual preferences for ages now and they never needed a book to tell them what they can do because the game has always let you do what you want since it came out.

          • Dolly Digest

            And now same sex relationships and marriage have been given official recognition in the rule book and as you have stated does not change the way the game is played so no harm is done – this still does not explain your objection to it. It seems that I have a much better understanding of this subject than you and I also have better concept of equality and this addition to the rule book is an acknowledgement that LGBT people are equal to heterosexual people and that their relationships are perfectly natural. Your reaction to this still makes absolutely no sense at all.

          • Shaun Salisbury

            Not really you only have the political view of acceptance if you actually asked people of all walks of life if they would like a world where who they are is so normal that there is no division between anyone else I can tell you they will say yes and in that would only one word needs to describe people of all walks of life and that word is Human.

          • Matt

            Out of curiousity, since you have been playing for so long, were you upset when they started using the female pronoun in an attempt to make the game more approachable to female gamers?

          • Shaun Salisbury

            Never noticed since they have always had a option to play female characters anyway you wanted to plus those changes never were made into a PR stunt.

  • Dean Valley

    Pointless to shine a spot light on this. I’ve played with a couple of gay guys way back in second edition some 20+ years ago. Sometimes they played a straight male, sometimes gay and sometimes female. They didn’t need it written in the rule book how to do it. I see this as hasbro stuffing more Political Correctness down our throats. Keep your PC and leave our game alone. Gamers don’t need to be told how to roll play.

    • FredPSanford

      But they do need to be told how to role-play. Serious, have you ever been to a con? My god, some of them have no idea how to do it.

      • Kailye Narisse

        I like playing a Minnie that’s actually a Max.

        *shifty eyes*

    • Igor Martin Pereira

      Cut the bloody whining, it’s a suggestion on how to build interesting characters, which new players do need to read in order to get what the game is all about and all the possibilities they have if they are not being tutored by a veteren who can just tell them, not a rule to play as a non-binary elf.

      • Shaun Salisbury

        Sorry but no the only guide to how your character should act is your own personal imagination not something like that.

        • Igor Martin Pereira

          So why do you need the goddamn book telling you all about how to make a character, after all? Go play make believe with the other kids in your boys-only treehouse club, wimp.

          • Shaun Salisbury

            The book only should serve as rule book to how the rules are enforced and the boundaries of stats and game mechanics but anything to do with character has always been left to the player never have they told people they could not build the character in a way contrary to how they think and on a sidenote given that I am friends with humans of all walks of life I think we will enjoy our games free of narrow minded people like you.

          • Igor Martin Pereira

            That’s gotta be among the most stupid things I have ever read about role playing games in my entire life. Yeah, son, I guess WoD is one of the most popular franchises both in RPG and LARP because all that people want from their books are rules and mechanics, who has ever read the VTM clan backgrounds and played accordingly anyway?

            And in case you couldn’t grasp the concept, and you clearly couldn’t, the book is acknowledging the possibility of creating any sort of character at all, no boundaries beyond what would be reasonable for the game’s scale of power, so that maybe people will actually roleplay instead of going on the internet and making a bloody fool of themselves disguising their prejudices by pretending that all they care about in a ROLEPLAYING game are rules and mechanics. You are everything wrong with this hobby. And don’t tell me that kind of acknowledgement is not neccessary, because it’s the whole point of the game and many folks out there are not aware of that, I have had my share of munchkins and min-maxers even on rolled attributes based systems exploiting every loophole they could find while not even setting the basic background of their characters.

            And I find it amusing how you could muster the courage to call me narrow minded after flipping out because a game about playing whatever character you want told that trans elves and dwarves are included in that. I mean, don’t even try to pretend that your whole tantrum is anything more than transphobic garbage. After all, why would you be protesting the whole character creation section (of every single RPG book in existence, as a matter of fact, as they all have such stuff in their own rights) for stating precisely what you claim people should know about, uh, creating characters?

          • Shaun Salisbury

            Not really like I have said on other post the role playing part is left to your imagination you don’t need a book to tell you what how you can be as your character you have always been able to do that so long as you aren’t a moron like yourself and listen to some book on how to roleplay because using such a thing limits your imagination rather than expanding it and like I said in my post I see everyone as humans we are all the same moron so I have no prejudices while it seems you do.

  • John Doe

    This is just plain stupid. I am sorry but pandering to homosexuals (which are about 1% of the US population) is a stupid marketing technique since they probably don’t care that the game didn’t have specific rules for expressing sexuality. I am for equal treatment of everyone so don’t go on the anti-gay thing but this is just plain dumb. Those who feel the need to express their sexuality in a role-playing game probably have other issues that they may need to see a councilor about or just need to get out and go to a bar instead of being in their basement role-playing. Wizards of the Coast and Dungeons and Dragons have died in my book already. 3rd edition was were it all ended.

    • FredPSanford

      1%? Try about 10%. And also, you’re not including people who might just want to role-play someone of a different gender or sexual preference than their own.
      And your idea of what is or isn’t appropriate in a role-playing game in 2014 isn’t relevant anyway since you aren’t even going to bother looking at the new rules.

      • hottrotterinthenight

        Guess what? John Doe is actually closer to the truth than you are, Fred. The CDC laid out a study that pegs the LGT population in America at 1.7%, and the bisexual/other category at 0.6%. Far as I can tell, 1% is alot closer to a curate than 10%. But hey, feel free to look up the stats yourself. Until then, it is in face an unnecessary rule for the sake of pandering.

        • Celine Hughes

          Can you give me any resource link for that? I studied a lot of LGBT issues in college and I’m more inclined to agree with Fred than you, based on about 5 years of independent research through multiple psychological journals.

        • To cite Wiki, and all the criticism such a citation may entail, under the article entitled LGBT demographics of the United States: “According to the Williams Institute review conducted in April 2011, approximately 3.80 % of American adults identify themselves being in the LGBT community; wherein, (1.70%) identify as lesbian or gay, (1.80%) bisexual, and (0.30%) transgender, which corresponds to approximately 9 million adult Americans as of the 2010 Census. However, a measurable higher percentage acknowledge having same-sex attraction, or experience, without identifying as LGBT. This makes it difficult to accurately record the demographics of LGBT community in the United Sates. Studies from various nations, however, including the U.S., covering varying time periods and age groupings, have produced a consistent statistical range of 1.20–5.60% of the adult population.”

          Emphasis mine.

          So, let’s call it even and settle on 5% of adults and an unknown percentage of minors. Or, y’all can quibble about it some more. Your call. Me, I think it could be pandering or it could be the authors being socially-conscious. Either way, whom does it harm, exactly?

          According to my calculations: 0%. I have no citation for this figure.

        • JSM

          Try the American researcher Kinsey. 10 per cent.

        • Dolly Digest

          Hottrot – Statistics based on surveys such as this are unlikely to provide any thing near an accurate return, because people are still inclined to lie on official surveys, because there is no assurance on how that data will be recorded or safe guarded or who will have access to it. Secondly the results are largely dictated depending on the targeted audience – for example if the survey was conducted in the bible belt the results would be less than if the survey was targeted to the Northern States. 10% is still much closer to the actual figure. If the figure was only 1% then most people would never ever encounter an LGBT person in their lifetimes. However most Americans know at least one gay person, which in itself infers that the trues figure must be considerably higher than 1% of a population.

          Regarding the game: It is not an unnecessary rule it is simply a feature that allows people to match their avatar and/or character and role play experience to their gender or orientation. No pandering, but the game makers have rightly catered to a section of society previously not catered for, which is excellent news as I am sure you will agree.

          • Cullan Blackthorne

            So, Dolly has proven she has trouble with math. 1% means 1 out of 100. if you think “most people would never ever encounter an LGBT in their lifetimes”- then you think most people meet less than 100 people in their entire life?

    • Or it may be a teeny tiny window for someone who is otherwise having a hard time coping in real life to express themselves in the fantasy world, and thus begin or accelerate the process of assert themselves in reality. And if it helps just one person a year to move forward with a little more confidence in their sense of self, how is that stupid, exactly?

      Here’s the thing: It may have a minute chance of doing any good but where’s the harm in including that passage?

      Why are you so against it?

    • PathfinderGrl

      That’s why I went to Pathfinder, and I highly recommend it….but this isn’t the first time I have seen WoTC pander. They lost my respect a long time ago.

      • The_Livewire

        I went to Pathfinder when WotC announced 3.x was dead. I don’t need iconics that match me to feel included. (There’s no left handed iconic, for example.) But I understand some people do. So if WotC continues to follow Pathfinder’s lead, then it will be interesting to see if their iconics are as diverse as their fluff text.

        • Wayne

          Paizo did make the statement some time ago that, unless an orientation was specifically called out in a book or something, all of the iconics could be considered to be bisexual. Which was pretty cool of them to do.

          • The_Livewire

            *nods* But in a ‘book or something’ (The licensed Pathfinder Comics) Kyra’s either gay or bi, as is the rogue who’s name I can’t spell. :-)

    • VP

      It speaks volumes about a person when they consider recognising the existence of diversity in sexuality and gender presentation as “pandering” or as a “marketing technique”. Because it can’t just be that these aspects of reality might prove fertile and productive grounds for creating interesting and engaging characters and stories, can it? It can’t be that in 2014 we have moved beyond the narrow constraints of heteronormative and cis-normative social bigotry, and are able to recognise that LGBT people and issues form an integral part of the tapestry of both reality and fiction? It can’t be that all those legions of straight people you mention actually aren’t raving bigots, and also appreciate a world that is bigger and wiser and more inclusive? It can’t be that it’s the right and socially responsible thing to do, and will help to foster a better culture and better society in the long run?

      Your handle is peculiarly fitting though, I must say. That narrow-minded attitude is dead and rotting, an unrecognised corpse indeed, a curious and fallen relic of the past. Soon it will be buried, and that will be that. We shall not mourn its passing.

    • Wayne

      Also, you disregard the huge number of straight allies out there, which far outnumbers 10%, to which things like this also matter.

    • JSM

      Well actually it is 10 per cent. They just are not stupid enough to tell you.

    • Dolly Digest

      Nearer 10% of the whole population is still much closer to the truth. Firstly who is being pandered to? My understanding is that these features are in addition to existing possibilities – so it would seem that the game makers have simply catered to a sector of game players not previously catered for. It would appear that you are only for equal treatment for people as long as they are not actually treated equally – I am sure that even you can see how your comment is a complete oxymoron. People who enjoy RPGs like to select characters that often imitate themselves or aspects of their real selves that they cannot be in public for whatever reason – this maybe trans, it maybe sexual orientation and now rightly they have the choice.

    • Pat

      You’re for equal treatment of everyone… unless you actually see someone treating everyone equal, in which case it’s “just plain stupid” and “pandering to homosexuals.”

      (There aren’t any “rules for expressing sexuality,” btw.)

  • Retired MCPO

    It’s never been in the rules, but I’ve been DMing for over 35 years and we’ve always played this way. It’s never been a problem for ANY of my players.

    • Elora Thorn-Teeitee

      We’ve always played this way, as well. It’s never been an issue.

  • Redneck Reginald

    It will make no difference. It’s only symbolic. Blah blah blah.

    Do you know what, symbolic things matter. The more big companies that get on board with normalizing something that should just be considered normal the better. If this encourages one kid who is LGBT to feel that he is not ‘strange’ then it is well worth the wordspace.

    • badfae

      I agree. I’m sure players have been doing this kind of thing for a while, but that open acknowledgment and encouragement is really nice.

    • Drizzt Speakz

      This is a great point, RR!

      And also think about the time many of us started or start gaming–adolescents and teen years. This is the time when we start to notice who and what we like or might want.

      D&D and gaming have long been a place where people who might not fit in with certain crowds to get together and bond. Gaming can be and SHOULD be a very welcoming environment. I might not be LGBT, but it really makes me happy that they are doing things like this with the game. Some people may just socff and say that this is only “symbolic”, but it is great when it is rooted in something so common as a game because it will help people think and feel that they are not strange or wrong.

    • Jorge

      That’s just bullshit, the rulebook just says “you can make your character in any way you want: personality, ideals, appearance, sexuality, background, alignment, flaws, etc.

      As you can see, sexuality is only ONE of the worlds inside a character. And it’s good they mention it, new players don’t connect easily between diverse sexuality and medieval fantastic settings.

  • FredC1968

    I played various iterations of Dungeons & Dragons- 1st ed AD&D, 2nd ed AD&D, 3.0, 3.5 and Pathfinder. We never had issues with people playing LGBTQ player characters.

  • boobala

    did anyone else notice that the article linked on 3rd party websites shows a picture of hero quest, and not D&D?

  • Chris B

    A friend at University (30 years ago) used to play a gay hobbit thief. He brought a whole new meaning to ‘back-stab’, believe me…

  • Steve Ford

    I actually mentioned (To R.A. Salvatore) RE the inclusion of a LESBIAN TRYST involving DROW PRIESTESSES… that it was a little SAD that I’ve never seen that kind of thing happen with a gay MALE character! (He of course claimed that there are “PLENTY OF GAY CHARACTERS”) But that was NOT MY POINT! I have never seen a LOVE SCENE between gay male characters… maybe I just haven’t read the RIGHT books! (The FACT that they game is aimed at adolescent MALES for the most part seems a PRETTY SAFE BET as to WHY though!)

    • badfae

      That’s probably exactly the reason. Male gaze and all that.

  • Surprised by all the people who consider this unnecessary because it was never an issue in their group. The so-called Golden Rule (if an element of the game inhibits your fun, feel free to change or drop it) was unwritten up until White Wolf started making a point of including it. Did anyone decry that as unnecessary because it was a given at their table? Will the inclusion of these guidelines somehow harm your game?

  • DnDGuy

    All I see is Wizards pandering to social justice white knights. This kind of stuff has always been encouraged in dnd, the fact that they are making it out to be a new thing to draw these people in is just an insult to the game in general.

    • VP

      So… it’s a thing that has always been encouraged, and it has been a part of the game for ages, and it’s no big deal… but somehow adding a few sentences to the rulebook making all that explicit is a problem?

      • Shaun Salisbury

        Yes because the reason behind it is to get media attention nothing more just like Marvel changing Thor to a woman it’s just media pandering.

        • VP

          So you work for the WotC marketing department then, and know that this is a central plank of the sales strategy they’re going to use for the forthcoming 5th edition range?

          It couldn’t just be, you know, that the writer decided to be a bit more inclusive because that’s a good thing to be, and included those few sentences to better get across the important issues in character creation?

          I mean, that sounds logical, and obvious, and clearly what this is and all, but if you work for them and know otherwise then who am I to argue?

          • Shaun Salisbury

            You have obviously never worked in marketing then because if you did you would understand it’s all about buzz words and what is in what moves books nothing to do with the message it’s all about free media coverage pure and simple.

          • VP

            Aha, so you ARE a member of the WotC marketing department! In which case, one wonders why you are so keen to come on here and say bad things about what you’re supposed to be promoting…

            But, and I know this is a difficult thing for abject cynics to grasp, not everything is about marketing. Some things happen for other reasons – like the desire to make a good game, to be socially responsible and inclusive, literary taste, and the conviction that some things are so important and relevant to character creation in an RPG that they ought to get a mention in the rulebook.

            It says an awful lot about you that you presume everything is some kind of marketing stunt as the first and only necessary explanation. Especially when there are far more obvious and believable explanations to hand.

          • Shaun Salisbury

            The fact that you believe that tells me you are a very naive person everything is done with marketing involved this isn’t some small business this is a large company with shareholders that they are responsible to make money for so everything is about what will increase sales.

        • Dolly Digest

          Maybe it just diversifying? Comic books are simply story telling through art and as such is subject to artistic license, experimentation and artistic evolution and Marvel have endeavored to experiment with the gender of a main character.

          • Shaun Salisbury

            Nope because once sales of comics including these changes drop they will change it back Marvel has a history of it.

  • VP

    For my own part, even though I am a huge fan of Fantasy and RPGs, I do not like to mix up sex and sexuality in them. I find fantasy games a refreshing escape from the difficulties of dealing with these frustrating and unhappy aspects of life. To my eyes one might as well concentrate on role-playing the filling in of tax returns, simulate tedious coach journeys or consider the minutiae of a trip to the dentist. This is one reason I like Tolkien so much – his fantasy is almost entirely free of that sort of thing – and find the gratuitous sexuality in George Martin’s Ice and Fire books makes them virtually unreadable.

    Nevertheless, many people do want to involve these things in their games, and that’s perfectly fine. Given that this is so, it is a very good thing indeed that RPG publishers are including discussions and cues in their rulebooks that present openness, tolerance and inclusivity an expected norm. It is an overwhelmingly good thing that society presents, in all places, a message that combats the tendency towards heteronormative and cis-normative assumptions. It is vital that people are empowered to feel that their sexual and gender identities are an acknowledged part of society’s fabric.

    To those who say that they have always embraced non-traditional sexualities and gender presentations in their roleplaying – great, but that’s not the point. The point is not that it can be done but that it now has official recognition and imprimatur in the published materials. This is not about your gaming group, it is about shaping the norms and expectations of the culture at large – and the messages communicated by official materials as to what variety of character traits exists for consideration contribute significantly to that.

    • Dennis Emanuele

      Why is sexuality a frustrating and unhappy part of your life?

      • VP

        Same reason as everyone else I guess!

    • Shaun Salisbury

      The people that play D&D have accepted this as the norms that is what you aren’t getting and no matter how much we explain it to you it doesn’t seem to get into your head.

      • Dolly Digest

        Well in part because none of your comments make any logical sense and only show you up to be an embittered anti-gay individual.

        • Shaun Salisbury

          Only to politically trained slaves such as yourself that can’t think on there own and understand what I am saying.

  • white squirrel

    jack chick is likley sharpening his playschool crayons

  • white squirrel

    Would a world as envisaged in the D and D have much gender dissonance?
    if magic existed such as ‘wish’ and ‘alter reality’ then the inhabitants would soon find their own path
    plus that old fav the girdle of mascul/femini – the original game never did explain who made them or how
    the new rules offer suggestions – how many players will actually explore the options is another matter
    next up – D & D Oglaf

  • DownwithHasbro

    It is pointless to put a spotlight on this. its role playing and will take on the light of the role players regardless of rules. NOW my true rant.. Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast ruined this game anyway. It is no longer Dungeon and Dragons in any way shape or form from what the intent and flow was originally and might as well be a board game or a collector card game. I am disgusted with the rules after 3.5 and honestly will NEVER plug money into the pile of dung
    that has now taken the name but not near the class of true D&D. Hasbro+WOTC = Fail…

    • William

      Agreed – It’s a misleading title, there was never any rules on this, so there is nothing to change. Also, 4.0 is definitely garbage; they turned in into a MMORPG board game.

      Pathfinder is my preferred game of choice now.

    • Alexandra Burnell

      I’m with you on this. V.4 was utter crap and after beta testing v.5 we all vowed to Not to touch anything over v.3.5. It was boring and everyone was over powered. WoTC will Not be getting any money out of me unless they re-release 3.5.

  • Starr

    I swear this whole LGBT debate is a non-issue. It’s like gay marriage. It’s not messing with your own marriage – so get over it. This whole issue with the book adding a few sentences into the character creation section about gender views is not a huge issue. Talk about making an ant hill into a volcano – it’s ridiculous! Who f’kin’ cares if there are a few extra sentences in the section. Only new players are even going to be reading that part anyway. Once you’re a gamer, how often do you go back to read how to create a character? You did it once, no biggie to do it again.
    So it’s comment after comment of why did they do this? I think it’s dumb that they did this. It’s a conspiracy or no… It’s a marketing gimmick, who cares! Why is this such a big “thing”?
    Like others have stated, Let it go already…

  • Dennis Emanuele

    The problem with this whole discussion is the fact that when you play a ‘fantasy role playing game’ it is implied that you use your imagination for the fantasy part and there are no limits to that. You act out the role of one of an infinite number of personalities that your mind concocted. This has already been written in the 1st Edition Players Handbook by Gary Gygax back in the early 70’s….HOW IS THIS ANYTHING NEW?!?!? Over my 30+ years of gaming I have seen hermaphrodite, gay, pregnant, bi-sexual, asexual, and eunuch characters. Sex has always been a part of any role playing game but it is up to the game master of the game and a smaller part the players of each game to determine how much time should be devoted to dealing with sexuality within the game….for some stories it may be important (like when social dynamics drive the plot) and for others (the hacking and slashing of monsters) not so much. Just like any other role playing elements of an RPG you learn by experience how much or how little to actually dialog it all out by the reactions of the group. Two people bantering on about a love scene between their 2 characters will leave most other players rolling their eyes and yawning if it goes on too long….however if the game lasts long enough like our campaign has families will evolve and children will be born. Yes, it is important to discuss just how that happened. Otherwise how will you even be able to tell whether it is a half-elf or half-orc that pops out?

  • Stephen Rose

    What next? A section on the character sheet to record your character’s sexual preferences?
    Why call it out in the first place, when fundamentally it’s a soft matter, not a hard crunchy rules thing?

    • And here I was thinking role-playing involved something more than rules. Guess I’ve been doing it wrong.

  • Theocratic Jello

    I’ve been gaming for decades, and to lay my geek cred on the table, I’ve also run several larps. In my personal gaming group, this was never a problem. We had a 50/50 split on male/female players, and a lot of LGBT+ folks.

    However, I’ve seen other groups where women have been told they had to come up with a history to support the fact that they wanted to be fighters, in the 2000’s even. I’ve seen groups where any character driven activity that appeared gay at all was grounds for expulsion.

    So I guess I’m saying it’s great so many people have been in groups with like minded folks, who support different gender expressions, and sexualities, but that’s not all groups. The last larp I ran, we included a diversity statement and it actually increased our female playership (Boffer larps run towards the masculine in player participation), and our LGBT+ players. We got many players that refused to play in other local larps because just seeing our inclusionary statement made them feel safer coming to game. This was only a few years ago, so I tend to think if our numbers were increased by such a statement, then perhaps the gaming community isn’t so inclusionary, as some of the comments here are making out.

  • Cullan Blackthorne

    So, this thread is a perfect mirror for the issue in the real world. Those who have a political agenda aren’t going to see that this is a pandering, marketing ploy even when someone says straight out that’s exactly what it is. People for whom this is a non-issue it will continue to be a non-issue. And people for whom this is a threat clearly show that gays aren’t as accepted as everyone wants to pretend, no matter what the mainstream media is trying to feed you, if a few lines in a book provokes this kind of reaction. Which, sadly, means there’s going to be even MORE politically correct crap shoved down our throats, until everyone against gays…or just against politically correct garbage shoved down their throats… are shouted down. But their silence doesn’t mean equality or acceptance. The reason I know this is a pandering, marketing ploy to gain some free publicity in the worst way, is… before 5th edition, before 4th edition…back in 3.5 there was a book called The Book of Erotic Fantasy.. dedicated to EXACTLY what this small passage is about. D&D’s publishers were so offended by it, they didn’t even allow the words “Dungeons and dragons” to be used anywhere in or on the book. Does that REALLY sound like people who are about sexual identity equality? Because it doesn’t to me. Want to go back a little further? How about the 80’s- the time of AIDS and Boy George and gays, back before Glee and The L Word …did D&D stand up for gender equality then? No, of course not. But now that it’s “safe”, now that it’s “In”…oh, NOW it’s safe to include a few lines in our book. It’s BS, all of it. And no one will understand this, judging by the content of the replies.

    • Because the boardroom roll call never changes and people never have a change of heart? A company directive or incidental direction must remain so, forevermore, unless we pander?

      Anyway, guess what? Since TSR became incorporated, it’s always been marketing. Everything. Every expansion book, every game setting, every figurine, every magazine issue, everything RPG-related has ultimately been marketing (with, I’m sure rare exceptions here and there). It’s all marketing (and, to an extent, pandering).

      The notion of some, like yourself and other more virulent individuals, is that this is somehow more pandering than anything else that has been done. ‘This is definitively pandering. And pandering is bad! Argh!’

      So, to me, the question is: From where does this premise arise? Why is mentioning more evolved thinking about sexuality and gender expression worthy of the “Pandering!” label but the inclusion of Dark Elves was not? What’s with all the game settings? Was Dark Sun pandering to people who like Conan more than King Arthur? What about when they started pandering to women? ZOMG!

      But, lastly, what I find equally amusing and annoying, is the idea that the reason a large number of people disagree with you is apparently because they do not understand the Great Truths that you understand.

      “And no one will understand this, judging by the content of the replies.”

      You may want to examine that.

  • Patrick

    I’m not sure why people can’t see both sides of this. Is it a good thing that WOTC put this type of information in the books? Sure, it brings awareness etc, and that’s always a good thing. But to laud them for doing the right thing by entering this information, and to think that that’s the only motivation for it is somewhat shortsighted. In my opinion they looked at both, allowing that it would be a good thing, but also as something that would drive awareness and possibly drive sales for a product that has been lagging behind other RPGs after being the top of the heap for decades.

  • William

    The title of this is misleading. As long as I’ve been playing, there has been no rules in regards to sexuality and gender identity to change. Stuff like that was always left to the player’s discretion. I’ve ran campaigns myself with player characters that were outside the “Binary gender” notion.

    This seems more like a PR stunt.

  • Chris

    this is pointless! and frankly a little degrading, it’s insulting that they think this stuff has to be said directly. 3.5 already covered this, the drow thing especially… sexuality and gender identity are roleplay elements, not mechanical ones, any GM or player with an ounce of talent was already running this.

  • jorge

    saying “you can pick any sexuality for your character” is as unnecessary as saying “your character can have any flaws you want” or “your character can look any way you want” or “your character can behave any way you want”.

    And by that I mean, nothing of this is unnecesary, it’s good for new players to know that there are no bounds.

  • Allison Trevor

    It’s just a matter of the written rules finally reflecting the way the game is already played. The cool thing about d&d is you can go beyond even the varieties of human sexuality and gender. I played a Wilden – kind of a humanoid tree creature – and I played it as more plant-like than the original design, including a plant’s reproductive methods. Then I had to leave the game so it “put down roots” in a lady-druid’s grove. And they lived happily ever after.

  • Daniel Fraggle

    This will form a barrier to younger players entering the hobby. Right wing parents occassionally allow their kids to start in on p&p in the early teens. After this? The average player age will certainly be affected by this out-of-place pretentious sex ed. Crap like this is why Pathfinder is taking over. Ive never been in a D&d campaign that had all straight players. Adult d&d groups are already a refuge for the marginalized. This move only loses players, especially younger ones. Instead, theyll just turn to MtG where overpowered cards and combos are consistently called “gay” in a not-so-loving way.

  • Matt

    Straight male here who has been playing for over … well quite a long time … this is a great thing. The more welcome the environment the better for the hobby and life in general.

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